The main character in The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, famously clicked her heels together, repeating the line, “There’s no place like home,” in an attempt to get back to Kansas. For John Lombardo Jr. and the NAPA Filters/Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Funny Car team, there is no place like Heartland Park Topeka where they swept both the national and Central Region events hosted there during an onslaught that includes a 19-1 win-loss record in eliminations beginning in April.
Though the win at the July 28-30 event didn’t add to the national tally of the Top Alcohol Funny Car points leader, it all but assured him of his fourth regional championship in the past five years with an unblemished record of five wins in 2017 in a best-5-of-7 format.
After a hiccup at the Fallen Patriots NHRA Route 66 Nationals ended Lombardo’s winning streak at five races, his team kept focus in an effort to reclaim their momentum and hunt for a long-coveted season title. Lombardo qualified No. 1 in Topeka with a 5.563 and displayed awesome consistency during eliminations with runs of 5.525, 5.500, and 5.511.
“We stay the course, strive for continued improvement, and resist laying losses off on others,” said Lombardo of his team’s ability to rebound. “Rick (Jackson, owner/crew chief), Les (Davenport, tuner), and the whole team are determined to put a fantastic race car on the starting line every time they lower the body. I am very fortunate to be among a group that is determined to find the next two to three hundredths to win the next ones. For five outings, we had a very good car when we needed it, a little bit of luck, and have gone down the race track a lot. We went out early in Chicago but came right back in Topeka.”
Lombardo is entering an important stretch of the season where his team is dedicated to national event competition where his title hopes can either come clear into focus or dissipate depending on their performance. Their next event is the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn. (August 17-20) followed by the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals (Aug. 30-Sept. 4).
Lombardo embraces the target of being atop the points standings as he chisels away at achieving the main goal.
“TAFC competitors pay attention, and there is always a little extra satisfaction in beating the points leader, the low qualifier that weekend, etc.,” said Lombardo. “Each round we can win keeps someone else from scoring points. If we can stay focused on that, the bullseye remains on us, and we chip our way to the end goal”
Jackson Lombardo Racing is sponsored by NAPA Filters, NAPA Auto Parts, Lucas Oil, Centre Pointe Collision, Hoosier Tire, NAPA Batteries, NAPA Belts and Hoses, Carlyle Tools, NAPA Power Supreme, Mahle/Clevite, NGK Spark Plugs, CP-Carrillo, Arvada Excavating, and Jackson’s Auto Supply.